Two City College of San Francisco students are suing the school and the SFPD after they claim they were beaten and arrested without cause during a protest that took place on campus in March.
Otto Pippenger, 21, and Dimitrious Philliou, 20, say that during a protest on March 13 in which students and faculty attempted to peacefully occupy Conlan Hall, SFPD officers closed off access to the public building.
When students on the inside unlocked the doors and let the protesters flood in, officers began allegedly using excessive and violent force on anybody they believed to be a part of the demonstration.
Students were calling for the resignation of the recently appointed Special Trustee Robert Agrella, reinstatement of CCSF’s board of trustees and reversal of new fee regulations that require students to pay up front at the beginning of each semester.
Defending Pippenger and Philliou is the president of the Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Rachel Lederman.
Lederman says the police incited the violence that led to Pippenger suffering a concussion and two broken wrists, while Philliou was pepper sprayed in the eyes at close range after being tackled to the ground.
Pippenger explained the incident in a video interview with indybay.org:
“(The officer) threw me over his leg and shoulder, where upon I was dog-piled by a variety of cops. It was pretty unpleasant. I couldn’t breathe and I had somebody’s … knee in my back. The last thing I really remember clearly is them forming a human wall between me and the crowd and then being punched in the back of the head … my head kind of bouncing against the cement.”
Six police officers were also injured in the protest.
CCSF Chancellor Art Tyler has launched an independent review into the incident after making public comments on March 14 accusing the students of violence and threatening the students with college discipline.